Central Florida

Cocoa Beach

5 things to discover in Cocoa Beach

This year-round surfing mecca in Central Florida has much to offer beyond the resort cluster near the pier.

There is some shade on the Pinellas Trail, but not very much because of the trail's width.

Pinellas Trail: Treasured St. Pete bike trail is now 5 miles longer

The Pinellas Trail is a long, well-marked paved bicycle trail that connects St. Petersburg to Tarpon Springs along Florida’s Gulf coast. It was just extended five miles north, and this is the most scenic section of all.

As the sun sets over Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, kayaks are lined up ready to launch for a bioluminescent kayak trip. (Photo: Bonnie Gross)

A Florida summer thrill: Night-time kayaking in a bioluminescent glow

On dark summer nights in the Mosquito Lagoon near Titusville, the water glows from bioluminescent plankton. Kayak tours help visitors see the spectacular light show.

2017 Tour of Sebring: Labor Day bike ride is a Florida classic

2017 Tour of Sebring: Labor Day bike ride is a Florida classic

Labor Day brings together about 600 bicyclists from around the country to enjoy pedaling on scenic roads over gentle hills with friendly drivers.

Rhesus monkey at Silver Springs State Park in Ocala. (Photo: Bonnie Gross)

Kayaking Silver Springs: Exquisite trail for kayaks is highlight of Silver River

The new Silver Springs State Park near Ocala gives kayakers their first chance to launch at the famous springhead and paddle an exquisite waterway that has never been open to kayakers before.

Stop at little known Lake Griffin State Park for a famous tree and more

Stop at little known Lake Griffin State Park for a famous tree and more

A very old, very big live oak tree inspired me to stop at this park near the Villages in Central Florida, and I found it to be a nice place to picnic, paddle and take a short hike.

2018 Florida Strawberry Festival: March 1-11

2018 Florida Strawberry Festival: March 1-11

Florida Rambler’s guide to the Florida Strawberry Festival in Plant City. Entertainment line-up, places to stay, places to eat, places to camp and things to do nearby.

This barred owl at Arbunkle Creek swiveled his head to follow us as we paddled under his tree.

Kayaking Arbuckle Creek: Unexpected beauty at a bombing range

Arbuckle Creek is a gorgeous river through an ancient cypress forest. It feels remote and wild but is convenient to Orlando and South Florida. It’s a gem, full of wildlife and magnificent scenery.

Wekiva River Basin’s stunning beauty invites paddlers, campers, hikers and bikers

Wekiva River Basin’s stunning beauty invites paddlers, campers, hikers and bikers

Not all of Central Florida’s magic is at Disney. North of Orlando is a vast ecological preserve that offers an abundance of recreational opportunities with unique exposure to Florida’s great outdoors.

Characters created to embody Florida blueberries

Florida Blueberry Festival, April 22-23, 2017: Explore wild Brooksville

The Florida Blueberry Festival highlights not just Florida’s blueberry crop but also Brooksville, a lovely unspoiled region of Florida that is a great place for hiking, biking, kayaking and exploring.

The historic Donnelly House in Mount Dora.

Mount Dora: Eight big weekend festivals plus year-round charm

Mount Dora is a historic town that has figured out how to keep people returning year after year — with events like this: Feb. 4-5 is the 41st Annual Arts Festival, attracting 285 artists and thousands of visitors.

January 2018 manatee festivals: Orange City and Crystal River

January 2018 manatee festivals: Orange City and Crystal River

Two large manatee festivals celebrate Florida’s beloved manatee every January – one in Orange City and one in Crystal River. These two locations are probably the best places in the state to see manatees well and in great numbers. First up: Jan. 13 and 14 in Crystal River.

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